The Lamb of God is a precious name referring to the Lord Jesus. Perhaps you’ve heard it before, or remember reading it in the Word. Many of us may have sung it in Christian songs and hymns to praise the Lord as the Lamb of God. To increase our appreciation of our Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God, let’s dive into the meaning and importance of this profound name of Christ in the Bible.
Mankind’s fall and the lamb in Genesis
To understand the meaning of the name Lamb of God, we have to go back to the beginning in Genesis. After God created Adam and Eve, He put them in the garden of Eden, and in the garden was the tree of life. God wanted Adam and Eve to eat of that tree, which represented the eternal, divine life of God. God desired to share His life with them and be everything to them. By partaking of that tree, they would be made one with God, He would become their life inwardly, and they would express Him outwardly in their living.
God also specifically warned Adam and Eve not to eat of another tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He told them that if they did, they would surely die, since that tree represented Satan as the source of death to mankind. Sadly, we know that Satan seduced Adam and Eve to eat of that tree. They disobeyed God, and by eating of that tree, they were poisoned with the sinful nature of Satan.
Since God is righteous and holy, He couldn’t simply overlook their disobedience; God cannot tolerate sin. And as Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.” They had to die. But God didn’t want the human beings He created to die. So what could He do?
Instead of killing them, God made Adam and Eve coats out of the skin of an animal to cover them. Based on the further revelation in the Old Testament, the animal was probably a lamb.
That lamb took their place and died for them. So instead of Adam and Eve being killed, that lamb was killed. Instead of their blood being shed, that lamb’s blood was shed. A guiltless lamb died for them, the guilty ones. And because it died for them, God could clothe Adam and Eve with the skin of that substituting lamb. When God looked at Adam and Eve then, He didn’t see their sinful condition; He saw the lamb.
From then on throughout the Old Testament times, a person could not come to God without offering a lamb. What was required was that a lamb be sacrificed to die in the offerer’s place and to shed its blood for the sins of the offerer. The death and the shedding of the blood of a lamb was the only way sinful human beings could be accepted by God. Hebrews 9:22 tells us clearly, “Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
But the lamb the Old Testament people of God offered up was only a temporary solution, a picture of the coming of Jesus as the real Lamb of God who would take away His believers’ sins for all time.
The Lamb of God
In the Old Testament, every lamb offered up was the lamb of a man, prepared by the offerer. But in John 1:29 in the New Testament, when John the Baptist saw Jesus he declared this:
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”
John the Baptist declared that Jesus was the Lamb of God. Jesus was the real Lamb purposely prepared by God Himself to take away the sins of the entire world. As the uniquely spotless and sinless One, Jesus alone was fully qualified to die for fallen mankind, shed His precious blood, and take away the sins of the world.
The Lamb of God bore our sins, died, and shed His blood for us on the cross
How did Jesus take away the sins of the world?
God so desired to bring fallen mankind back to Himself that He provided Jesus, the Son of God, to be the Lamb of God to bear our sins for us. Although Jesus was the Son of God with divinity, through incarnation He put on a body of flesh and blood so He could die for us.
The account of the Gospels tells us that it was on the cross that Jesus, the guiltless One, bore our sins, died, and shed His blood for us, the guilty sinners. There, God put all the sins of all mankind on Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb of God. Isaiah 53:5 says, “He was wounded because of our transgressions; He was crushed because of our iniquities; the chastening for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we have been healed.” Consider how heavy the load of sin that was laid upon our dear Savior!
While Jesus was bearing the sins of the whole world, God judged Him as our substitute. This is why at a certain point, Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” God had to forsake Jesus on the cross, not because Jesus was sinful but because He was taking the place of all of us sinners.
God’s righteousness required the shedding of the blood of Jesus for us to have forgiveness of sins. Oh, our dear Lord Jesus bore our sins on the cross, suffered death for us, and shed His own blood for us! His blood washes away our sins and brings us back to God. Jesus, the Lamb of God, accomplished a perfect and eternal redemption for us.
When we realize the meaning of Jesus being the Lamb of God, how can we help but love Him with all our hearts?
Jesus, the Lamb of God now and for all eternity
In Genesis we saw man’s fall and a lamb slain for Adam and Eve as a picture of Christ as the Lamb of God. In the New Testament, we see the reality of that picture—Jesus the Lamb of God took away the sin of the world by His death on the cross.
Now in resurrection, He is still the Lamb of God for us. May we never forget that whenever we come to God to fellowship with Him, we come not through any merit of our own but through the shed blood of the Lamb of God.
Even in Revelation, verses that speak of eternity future still refer to our Lord as the Lamb of God:
“And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.” (Revelation 22:1)
For all eternity, Jesus will be the Lamb of God to us, His redeemed ones. Praise Him!
More verses for appreciating the Lamb of God
These additional verses from the Bible will help us to consider and appreciate Jesus as the Lamb of God. May our hearts and our tongues be filled with thankfulness and praise to Him!
Isaiah 53:6—We all like sheep have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way, and Jehovah has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.
Matthew 27:46—And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
2 Corinthians 5:21—Him who did not know sin He made sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
1 Peter 1:18-19—Knowing that it was not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, that you were redeemed from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers, but with precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ.
1 Peter 3:18—For Christ also has suffered once for sins, the Righteous on behalf of the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God, on the one hand being put to death in the flesh, but on the other, made alive in the Spirit.
Personally knowing the Lamb of God
If you hadn’t heard of Jesus being the Lamb of God before, you might be wondering, “How can I have this forgiveness and know the Lamb of God?” Although it is an accomplished fact that Jesus the Lamb of God took away the sin of the world, this fact has to be applied to you personally. You simply need to repent, that is, turn from being away from God and turn back to God. Believe in Jesus and all He did for you, and receive the Lamb of God as your Savior. You can do this by opening your heart and praying this prayer:
Lord Jesus, I turn to You. I confess I am a sinner. I need Your forgiveness. Lord Jesus, I believe in You and all You did for me. Thank You for dying for me as the Lamb of God. I receive You as my Savior right now. Thank You, Lord Jesus. Amen.